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August 23, 2012
Senator Rockefeller introduces proposal to bolster mine safety

Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia) has reintroduced mine safety legislation, adding provisions aimed at correcting more “glaring safety issues revealed in the wake of the Upper Big Branch mine disasters.” The incident claimed the lives of 29 miners in 2010.

In the 2 years since, Congress and the Obama administration have enacted regulations to improve the safety and health of coal miners.

Among those are requirements that publicly traded mining companies disclose serious safety violations to shareholders, the public, and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Also, MSHA has issued final regulations requiring rock dusting.

However, Rockefeller says comprehensive legislation is still needed. His proposal would make a number of changes, including:

  • Prohibiting mine operators from keeping two sets of books
  • Establishing strict penalties for unsafe ventilation changes
  • Limiting miners’ exposure to black lung disease
  • Improving federal and state coordination around safety violations
  • Improving mine safety technology and safety
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